Bell pepper sauté over lemon kale quinoa is a sturdy meal that can be ramped up even more with crumbled feta cheese.
Sauté a combination of sliced bell peppers (red, yellow and orange) in olive oil with fresh oregano leaves and a couple of minced garlic cloves. Season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, make quinoa in vegetable stock, and when it’s done, add lemon zest and chopped kale. The heat will wilt the greens. Scoop pepper mixture over quinoa and top with feta.
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Tuesday: Gone fishin’
Make it simple and quick tonight with tilapia picaata served with sautéed spinach and sliced tomatoes.
Sauté the fish fillets in olive oil and minced garlic, and when they are almost done (about 3 minutes per side if they are thin), squeeze in fresh lemon juice and a splash of white wine. Lots of capers bring this dish to life.
We love barbecue chicken quesadillas, a classic that makes quick work of rotisserie chicken.
For each quesadilla, mix about 1/2 cup shredded chicken, 1/3 cup shredded cheese, some chopped onion and a tablespoon (or more to taste) of barbecue sauce. Spread it on a flour tortilla and place in a hot, dry skillet. Cook until tortilla is golden and cheese begins to melt.
Fold over, flip and repeat. Serve with melon slices.
Thursday: Soup’s on
Soup is tasty year-’round, but when the calendar turns to October, we all become super slurpers.
Slow-cooker Mexican chicken soup (see recipe) is a fix-it-and-forget-it meal that is dressed up at the end with garnishes, if you’d like. Serve with biscuits.
Friday: Sensational side
Stir-fried Asian cabbage is the kind of side that goes with just about anything, but especially grilled skewers of shrimp brushed with hoisin sauce.
Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil (not olive) in a skillet or wok and add one large head of shredded cabbage, Napa if you can find it, and two peeled, shredded carrots. Cook and stir until cabbage softens and add 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar and a few teaspoons sesame oil. For crunch, stir in drained, sliced water chestnuts.
SATURDAY: Easy Entertaining
Invite some friends to enjoy grilled chicken breasts.
Top the chicken with fire-roasted corn and cherry salsa (see recipe). Add couscous, a Boston lettuce salad and crusty rolls.
For dessert, buy brownies and top them with light whipped cream.
Sunday: Family Day
Bring the family together with grilled marinated steak (see recipe).
Serve with baked beans topped with reduced-fat sour cream. Add steamed fresh broccoli and whole-grain bread.
Sweeten the ending with coconut cream pie for dessert.
Janet Keeler, Tampa Bay Times, and Susan Nicholson, Universal UClick.
Grilled Marinated Steak
2 pounds beef top round steak, cut 1 1/2 inches thick
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons minced green onions
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
3 large cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
Place beef in resealable plastic bag. Combine juice, onions, water, canola oil, ginger, garlic and salt; mix well. Pour over steak, turning to coat. Marinate in refrigerator 6 hours to overnight; turn occasionally. Remove steak; discard marinade. Grill, covered, 25 to 28 minutes or until beef registers 140 degrees for medium-rare; turn occasionally. Transfer to cutting board. Let stand 5 minutes. Carve steak crosswise into thin slices. Makes 8 servings.
Per serving: 142 calories, 3 g fat (1.1 g saturated), 26 g protein, no carbohydrate, 58 mg cholesterol, no fiber, 142 mg sodium. Carb choices: 0.
Fire-Roasted Corn and Cherry Salsa
1 cup dried tart cherries
1/2 cup water
3 ears fresh corn on the cob, roasted
1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
2 medium jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup lemon or lime juice
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
Heat cherries and water in a small pan. Simmer about 5 minutes or until cherries have plumped and water is slightly syrupy; set aside to cool. Cut kernels from cob. In a medium bowl, add cherry mixture, corn, onion, garlic, cilantro, peppers and juice; mix well. Season to taste with salt. Makes 6 servings.
Per serving: 133 calories, 1 g fat (0.2 g saturated), 3 g protein, 30 g carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 170 mg sodium. Carb choices: 2.
Slow-Cooker Mexican Chicken Soup
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons smoked paprika, more for dusting at the end
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cans (15 ounces each) Great Northern beans (white beans), drained and rinsed
Shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream and fresh cilantro for garnish
Scatter the onion and garlic around the bottom of your slow cooker. Arrange the chicken breasts evenly over the top. In a medium bowl, whisk the chicken broth, cumin, oregano, smoked paprika, chili powder and salt. Pour over the chicken. Cook on low for about 6 hours.
Remove the lid and shred the chicken using two forks and pulling against the grain of the meat. Stir in beans. Add more broth or a little water if you think the soup is too thick for your liking, and then return the lid to cover. Continue cooking for an additional 30 minutes to allow the beans to warm.
Serve with shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, fresh cilantro and an additional dusting of smoked paprika. Serves 6.
Per serving: 365 calories, 4.2 g fat, 42.4 g protein, 37.6 g carbohydrate, 0.7 g sugar, 8.1 g fiber.